Microdermals- The Base-ics
Microdermals are very fun, very cool piercings. These piercings can be done in a variety of locations normally not piercable, and allow for a super unique look. These piercings work with a small base that remains under the skin, with a small post that sticks out above the skin that you can wear your gems, opals, or other fun ends on. With Microdermals the base can’t be taken out without removing and loosing the whole piercing. This makes getting pierced with a quality piece of jewelry imperative. Unlike other body piercings where if you were pierced with something low quality and we could easily swap it to high quality to help with the healing, with a Microdermal the base you get pierced with is the base you have for the lifetime you wear this piercing, unless you have it entirely repierced with a new base.
A good base for a Microdermal would be mirror polished implant grade titanium, with a perfect mirror finish. Now with microdermals, once it’s in it’s in, there is no removing it even to check what metal the base made be may of. For that reason many companies color code their bases with a process called anodizing. Anodizing is a safe way to make colored body jewelry, as it is an oxide layer as opposed to plating or coating. With the bases being anodized even years and years after being pierced we can still check the small piece that sticks out above the skin and guarantee that the base is in fact titanium. Making sure your base is anodized is a great way to ensure you are being pierced with proper materials. Also getting mill cert paperwork to prove they are titanium is smart, that way if you need any medical procedures you already have the documentation you will need. For this reason it’s particularly important to be pierced by someone you trust, with experience in surface work and all the documentation you may need for future medical procedures.
Poor quality bases are made of stainless steel or “surgical” steel, which are usually any form of mystery metal with any type of trace metals in it. Or it’s made of titanium (sometimes lower quality titanium and sometimes implant grade) but without a good polish on the base. We see these often, where machine and tooling marks from the process of making the pieces aren’t polished off the base. This creates crevasses for bacteria to collect in, and the rough surface can cause extra scarring to form in the pocket of the Microdermal. This scarring can eventually lead to early rejection or migration. Microdermals even with the best jewelry are long term temporary piercings. That means while they can be expected to last a while, they likely won’t be piercings you wear for life. That makes it even more important that they get a great start with the best materials, so you can get the longest lifetime out of your piercing. Also good to note- it is an urban legend that these need to be surgically removed. Any skilled piercer can remove these with a simple tissue massage and some manipulation, you don't need to see a doctor.
It’s important to ask good questions when you see your piercer for a piercing like this. Ask what companies they carry and why, and ask to see certifications for the jewelry you are getting. Also ask to see the base it’s self, and check to make sure it is mirror smooth all over the base, and you don’t see any small marks or scratches. A good piercer will be excited you are asking these questions and that you did such good research! A red flag is someone who doesn’t want to disclose what they are using or why. You as the client have every right to know exactly what is going in your body, particularly since you can’t take it out. Look for a piercer with a large portfolio of healed microdermals, some at least 2-7 years old. A piercer should be honest about the long term temporary nature of these, and also honest about limitations in where they can be pierced. That said with all the right stuff microdermals are adorable, fun piercings that can greatly expand your choices in placement and jewelry!